Wanted: nurse for remote Scottish island with population of 170

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A remote Scottish island which does not even have a proper GP surgery is recruiting a nurse for the first time in ten years.

The Isle of Raasay, which has a population of around 170 people, has not had resident medical cover for a decade, despite a long campaign by islanders to get a community nurse.

The view from the Isle of Raasay. Picture: Contributed

The view from the Isle of Raasay. Picture: Contributed

The island, considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland, is reliant on medics travelling from neighbouring Skye, with one GP surgery held once a week on a Wednesday, and three district nurses working on a rota Monday to Friday.

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For the past four years, residents have been campaigning to get a nurse who lives on the island, as there is no out-of-hours medical provision.

In December 2015, NHS Highlands unsuccessfully tried to recruit a resident nurse.

But hopes are high that a new recruitment drive could bring someone looking for a slower pace of life to the island, with a job ad closing next month.

Anne Gillies, chair of Raasay Community Council, said: "A resident nurse on Raasay will be a huge boost to the community.

"It will make an enormous difference, particularly to families with young children and our elderly population.

"We're all very happy at the prospect of having a nursing presence on the island again."

Kate Earnshaw, district manager for NHS Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross, said: "This is an exciting opportunity for a suitably qualified and experienced nurse to join the Community

Nursing Team and make a real difference to healthcare provision on Raasay.

"We hope this opening will appeal to candidates looking for a real shift in lifestyle.

"Raasay is a wonderful place to live and work and we look forward to attracting lots of applications."

The Band 6 post is permanent, can be full-time or part-time, and comes with a salary of £30,401 to £38,046.

He or she would be the first clinician on the scene in the event of an emergency on the island, would be required to provide on-call nursing cover, and would be the main point of contact on the island for the Skye-based GPs and rural medics at the MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford, on Skye.

The role promises "considerable autonomy" as Raasay's nurse will be responsible for assessing, planning, implementing and reviewing the island's healthcare needs.

NHS Highland said it is seeking "qualified, confident, competent and experienced" candidates who must be "adaptable and resourceful, working without a hospital or GP at hand".

Up to date clinical knowledge and skills are required, as is a desire to work in a remote, rural setting.

The health board hopes to be able to hire more than one nurse for the island.

A spokesman said: "The post holder would have a lot of variety in their job; every day is likely to be different as they would be dealing with patients from young children to the elderly.

"In addition to the professional challenges of working predominantly on their own, the remote location could present some challenges to everyday life, such as transport.

"For the community, the presence of resident nurse cover is greatly anticipated and will bring reassurance.

"Raasay is a wonderful place to work and live and to bring up a family. There is low crime, low pollution, amazing scenery and wildlife.

"The community nurse is a highly respected member of the community.

"It has a vibrant community, entertaining year-round visitors, a well-stocked community shop, post office, community hall, and an excellent primary school.

"It's within easy community distance to Portree on Skye.

"The Highlands and Islands have also been named as the happiest place to live in Scotland, according to the latest Bank of Scotland Happiness Index.

"Those living in the region highlighted the natural environment and a strong sense of community as key."

The closing date for applications is August 19.